Summary: I suspect we'd all like to be successful. The problem we face is our understanding of what successful means.

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Five Keys to Success

Genesis 24:1-14

I have a question for you; are you successful?

You immediately thought “yes”, “no” or “not sure/don’t know” and with that thought certain things ran through your mind.

Let me ask you another question; would you like to be successful? I can’t imagine anyone said “no”. I suspect we'd all like to be successful. The problem we face is our understanding of what successful means. The dictionary uses words like “favorable … prosperous … attainment” and “performance.”

Did you know that suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? It is surpassed only by accidents and homicide. Here's a shocking piece of information. CDC listed the top 8 reasons for suicide in this age group. #3 reason: Feeling like a failure ( The social definition of success results in many people being set up to fail.

Mother Teresa was credited with the words, "I am not called to be successful, but to be faithful." I’m not sure what she had in mind when she said this but I am more inclined to think that when you are faithful to the call of God on our life, using your God-wired capacities to enrich and bless the lives of the broader community and other people individually, you are highly successful.

Someone suggested that if you asked most entrepreneurs why they got into business, probably the number one reason listed would be money. John Roise, business owner, was a banker making a six-digit income. He left the banking business to buy Lindsay Windows. Why. John said, “The first thing I wanted to do was share my faith. Second, I wanted to be able to hire people who needed a second, third or fourth chance; people like ex-prisoners and drug addicts. Third, I wanted to speak out on social issues. And finally, I wanted to be able to take short-term mission trips.” He went on to define success this way. “I measure success according to what I’ve done compared to what I’m capable of doing. You could have millions of dollars, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is what you’ve done on this earth with the opportunities you’ve been given.”

I suggest that God desires we be successful. I offer five outstanding principles that lead to success. These are not the only principles but certainly a great place to start with confidence and value as you look toward 2010. We dig up these priceless jewels from the story of Abraham and his family.

Very quick history lesson –

- Abraham was the father of nations (Genesis 12:1-3). This status was naturally fulfilled through the nation of Israel. Spiritually he is “the father of all who believe” (Rom 4:16) … subject for another day

- Gen 15:17-21 … “river of Egypt” (Nile) to Euphrates – map

- Born in Ur, moved to Haran and in the final years of his life he wanted to secure a wife for his son Isaac so Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, returned to Nahor, Mesopotamia, the homeland, in search of a woman.

It is through this story we learn some valuable lessons about being successful. The first is this.

In pursuit of success:

1. Anticipate resistance v5

I don’t know what Abraham’s servant’s issues were. Why a woman would not pay attention to the will of a man is beyond me!

We must appreciate certain things with this question posed by Eliezer. He was a servant to Abraham for many years. We know this because Abraham speaks in chapter 15 of only having Eliezer has an heir to his estate since Abraham never had a son at this point. Before Eliezer make the promise to find a wife for Isaac, he explored the details with Abraham, the “what if” scenarios. Covenant relationships were not taken lightly. One’s reputation was at stake and even reflected on the whole family. Not only that, Eliezer was around long enough to know that success doesn’t come easy. It’s not a simple act of deciding that the woman he thought was good for Isaac would just agree with the whole proposition and leave home to go back with him to meet a stranger and then marry him!

None was more successful in his lifetime than Jesus. He did everything with perfection and clarity. He fully understood Father’s purpose and His part in the whole plan. Did he encounter resistance? Constantly. When John baptized Jesus in the Jordan, the official ordination day of his ministry, he immediately found himself in the wilderness and was opposed by the devil with powerful temptations (Matthew 4). People drove him out of their cities and regions (Matthew 8), criticized him for doing good deeds on the Sabbath (Mark 3) and questioned his authority when he reacted to business exchanges in the temple (Mark 11). His followers feared for his life when he considered going back to Jerusalem when he heard that his close friend, Lazarus, had died (John 11). I’m not sure any of us know resistance that intensely.

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Tom Shepard

commented on Feb 5, 2010

Very good outline - practical and Biblical based. Keep preaching the Word.

Dale Pilgrim

commented on Jun 1, 2010

Thank you. Blessings! On the Journey, Dale

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